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Help me with lunch for me and 3 kids.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am fairly new to the mothering.com forums but not mothering mag. I homeschool the kids and need some ideas for lunches. It seems we are always looking for something for lunch and often are out and about so end up eating crap. My kids are 10, 6, almost 2, and 10 months. The baby is covered...I make her food. The 2 year old usually eats lunch meat, cheese, and a fruit (with milk or water). That is his standard. Me and the older boys are the major problem. Here are some ideas I have. I am going to make a list (or little laminated booklet) for the kids to pick what they want to eat for lunch. I need ideas for quick lunches (under 1/2 hour) and lunches to take with us on the go.

We always have a fruit with lunch. I should include a veggie, too. That is easy. The "main dish" is what stumps me.

Meat and cheese sandwiches
PB&J sandwiches
Quesadilla with cheese
Quesadilla with meat and cheese
Quesadilla with egg
hard boiled egg
mini pita pizzas

That is about all I can think of. We usually end up eating crackers with meat and cheese. It is fine but boring. I need more variety. Please help us
post #2 of 9
I cook everything from scratch, and lunch never takes longer than 30 min:

homemade mac and cheese (I`ll share the recipe if you wish)

soups of all kinds including: corn chowder, baked potato soup, seafood chowder, chicken noodle, beef and barley, italian wedding soup, radish top soup, (the list goes on and on, but they all follow a basic method, which I will share if you wish)

Giant salad (I usually put all of the fixins in separate bowls and let kiddos assemble at will) usually (but not limited to ) chopped tomatoes, cucumber, grated cheese, hard boiled egg, diced ham, cold left over chicken, shrimp, purple onion, pecans or cashews or almonds, popcorn (kids go nuts for popcorn in salad, and it is a whole grain ) bean sprouts, pickles, red, yellow, green peppers, scallions...

Pitas stuffed with chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, ham salad etc.

Fruit salad with greek yogurt honey dressing and grilled cheese

Sweet potato oven fries and BLTs

savory rolls (like a cinnamon bun, but with cheese, onions, garlic and ham.)

My fave make ahead and reheat lunches:

Stuffed buns (with pizza filling, creamy chicken filling, chili filling etc.)
calzones
soups

Happy cooking! :
post #3 of 9
lil_earthmama, I would love to see your mac&cheese and soup recipes!
post #4 of 9
Quote:
savory rolls (like a cinnamon bun, but with cheese, onions, garlic and ham.)
I'd love to know how to make these!
post #5 of 9
I do homemade mac&cheese too or chicken (either home cooked pieces or frozen nuggets). But we too get in a rut.

You could make pigs in a blanket with all-beef hot dogs and biscuit dough.

I'll be watching for ideas!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I would love some soup recipes (esp. kid friendly chicken noodle, veggie, etc.). I wish I knew what you all eat for lunch We had pita pizzas for lunch today with turkey sausage. The kids LOVED them. I can see all kinds of possibilities with those!
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by lil_earthmomma View Post
I cook everything from scratch, and lunch never takes longer than 30 min:

homemade mac and cheese (I`ll share the recipe if you wish)

soups of all kinds including: corn chowder, baked potato soup, seafood chowder, chicken noodle, beef and barley, italian wedding soup, radish top soup, (the list goes on and on, but they all follow a basic method, which I will share if you wish)

Giant salad (I usually put all of the fixins in separate bowls and let kiddos assemble at will) usually (but not limited to ) chopped tomatoes, cucumber, grated cheese, hard boiled egg, diced ham, cold left over chicken, shrimp, purple onion, pecans or cashews or almonds, popcorn (kids go nuts for popcorn in salad, and it is a whole grain ) bean sprouts, pickles, red, yellow, green peppers, scallions...

Pitas stuffed with chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, ham salad etc.

Fruit salad with greek yogurt honey dressing and grilled cheese

Sweet potato oven fries and BLTs

savory rolls (like a cinnamon bun, but with cheese, onions, garlic and ham.)

My fave make ahead and reheat lunches:

Stuffed buns (with pizza filling, creamy chicken filling, chili filling etc.)
calzones
soups

Happy cooking! :
Lady..You're the lunch queen!!! I'm terrible at lunches too. We eat sandwiches or leftovers usually.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
Lady..You're the lunch queen!!! I'm terrible at lunches too. We eat sandwiches or leftovers usually.
I just love food, and love cooking and feeding people.

My mac and cheese recipe:
1 package macaroni noodles (I actually used cavatappi yesterday!)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup cream
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups good quality shredded cheddar cheese
(for the grown up version I added some smoked gouda, and about 1 1/2 tbsp dijon as well as green onion)

Cook pasta and drain.

Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in flour until smooth and allow to brown. Add cream and milk and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of cheese. Whisk until smooth. Add back to reduced heat and add the other cup of cheese. Don't be afraid to add a little extra milk if it's looking too thick, but you do want it nice and thick. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Add drizzle of maple syrup until it tastes just a teeny bit sweet and kraft dinner ish. At this point add your grown up ingredients if you like.

Toss the pasta and the sauce into an oven safe dish and cover in the last 1/2 cup of cheese. Stick oven at 375, for 20 min.

Allow to stand for a couple min and then devour!!! :

The nice thing about this recipe is it has possibility for infinite variations!


Soup:

All of my soups start the same way:

4 cups of Stock (chicken, beef or veggie)
add 2 bay leaves, half an onion, a bunch of cloves of garlic just sliced in half (no need to peel)
Bring to a boil

While waiting for stock to boil, sautee diced onion, garlic (and in some soups carrots and celery)

Allow stock to simmer and gather flavor while you prepare rest of dinner. 20 min or so, strain and return to heat. Add diced potatoes, meat etc. and veggies. Add cream (2 cups for 4 of stock) and create a roux. 4 tbsp (I eyeball this rather than measure) of butter, melted in a pan, 3 tbsp of flour. Whisk smooth and add to boiling soup. Mix vigerously so there are no lumps and let boil until desired thickness is achieved.

Some of my "recipes"

Corn chowder:

Thaw a bag of frozen corn (I do this in the sink with hot water)
Get stock flavoring, matchstick bacon (easiest if done when frozen). When bacon is cooked, remove from pan and saute onion and garlic in the bacon fat. Throw in corn and allow to cook for a couple minutes. Carefully blend some of the corn (about half) smooth and return to soup. Add some dried tarragon (um... 2 tsps?) Add onions and garlic, reserving some bacon grease. Add cream, create roux with grease (add butter if needed). Salt and pepper to taste

This soup is great because you can add lots of stuff, chili flakes, spicy peppers, red peppers, chicken, crab... mmmmmmmmmm

Chicken noodle:

My kiddos prefer asian flavors for their chicken noodle, so I heat up the stock, add freshly grated ginger, grated garlic, some lemon grass, 1 tbsp of soya sauce, and carmalized onion and sauteed mushrooms cut in thin rings. Once everything is nicely flavored, add some rice noodles. Throw bean sprouts into each bowl of soup.

I love to do a creamy chicken soup with gnocchi. Veggies of all kinds, potato dumplings, chicken peices in creamy broth.

Soup is the bomb, play around and you will find endless possibilities!
post #9 of 9
I usually stick by a few old standards.LOL.

corndog, grilled cheese, pbj, soup, quesadilla, pizza, sandwich, chicken nugget, burrito, baked potato, mac and cheese...

only serve a small portion of this with vanilla yogurt and fresh/frozen and thawed fruit. This allows these to last a while in your freezer, and you eat more of the better stuff, but you still feel like you ate the bad stuff.
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